Court told of brutal assault by crime unit

2012-09-28 00:00

AN Mpumalanga woman described in the regional court yesterday how police had repeatedly assaulted her partner, Nhlanhla “Lala” Luthuli, during the night of October 28, 2010.

The police told him they would not leave him alone until he produced the firearm they were looking for, but Luthuli kept saying he knew nothing about the firearm, she said.

This evidence was given by Amanda Ncube before regional magistrate Riaan de Wet yesterday at the trial of 15 policemen charged with Luthuli’s murder.

His body was found lying next to the road the morning after the alleged assault on him and members of his family.

The policemen charged with the murder and seven other related offences, were members of the Crime Intelligence Unit in ­Pinetown and the Tactical Response Unit based at Inanda at the time.

Ncube said she and Luthuli were sleeping when she heard Luthuli’s son, Mondli Mdabe, shouting.

He was standing outside in the company of many people, some in police uniforms and others in civilian clothes. He told her he was looking for “Lala”.

Luthuli told her to open the door and she did.

About 14 people entered the house.

Ncube said Luthuli was lying on his bed at the time. A policeman held him down and told him they were looking for a silver firearm.

Luthuli said he knew nothing about it.

Ncube said the policemen grabbed Luthuli, made him lie on his stomach and tied his hands behind his back with a cable tie.

They then lifted him up from the bed and threw him on the floor. One officer put his boot onto the back of his neck to keep him down.

Ncube testified that the police kept asking about the firearm, which they said was given to Luthuli by “Makhe and Sizwe”.

When Luthuli denied knowing about the gun, he was “booted all over his face and head”.

“They said they will not leave us alone until he produces the firearm,” she said.

Ncube said that at one stage, one of the officers poured water into a basin and pushed Luthuli’s face into the water.

At another point, they tied a plastic bag over his face.

The case is proceeding.

• ingrido@witness.co.za

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